Kepak secures access to $122bn US burger market
Irish processor becomes first European meat firm to gain access to lucrative mince market
Eoin Burke-Kennedy, The Irish Times (Ireland)
Oct 8, 2019
Irish meat-processing group Kepak has become the first European meat company to secure access to the US burger market, the largest meat market in the world with an estimated value of more than $122 billion (€111 million).
The Meath-based processor has secured United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval to distribute Irish beef burger patties.
The approval allows Kepak sell its beef into the US fast-food industry, long regarded as the more lucrative end of the trade.
While several Irish processors have secured licenses to sell high-value steak cuts, such as fillet and rib-eye, into the US market since the lifting of the BSE-inspired embargo on European beef in 2015, Kepak is the first to secure one for mince, known in the trade as manufactured beef.
Mince for the burger industry accounts for the bulk of US meat imports, which totals more than one million tonnes annually.
Kepak is said to be pursuing several contracts in the New York and Boston areas through its US arm, the Celtic Beef Company. The meat for export to the US will be processed at Kepak’s plant in Ballybay, Co Monaghan.
US beef imports are subject to tariffs above certain volumes. Whether Kepak’s exports will breach this ceiling is dependent of the amount of business it secures.
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